January 22-28, 2018 marks National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week.

The goal of the week is to raise awareness about drug and alcohol use and abuse, especially among teenagers. According to the most recent Monitoring the Future survey, teen use of illicit drugs except for marijuana remains at the lowest levels in two decades (5.8 percent among 8th graders, 9.4 percent among 10th graders, and 13.3 percent among 12th graders). Continued education and awareness is integral to maintaining these low numbers.

From simple curiosity to outright rebellion and every reason in between, teenagers have a variety of reasons for wanting to use drugs or alcohol. However, since their brains are not fully developed, they are unable to critically understand the consequences of drug use. To make matters worse, drug and alcohol use have negative effects on their developing brains.

It is important for parents and caregivers to know the signs of drug and alcohol use in teenagers, as well as knowing how to talk to their teens about these issues. Parents can learn more at the National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week website.